Brad Binder has ended the day atop the timesheets on the first day of action for the Japanese MotoGP, the KTM rider heading off championship leader Pecco Bagnaia at Motegi.
On a day that saw Binder give KTM’s new carbon fibre chassis its race weekend debut, the South African was in fine form with a record-breaking lap of 1m 43.489secs.
It served to smash one of the longest-running records on the MotoGP schedule, set back in 2016 during the Bridgestone era by Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo, taking a three-tenths chunk out of the erstwhile marker.
He was one of three riders to dip below Lorenzo’s time, Binder followed up by Bagnaia in second and Aleix Espargaro in third.
Bagnaia’s fast time towards the end of P1 represents a more aggressive change of tact from the Italian, who has normally used Friday’s to focus on dialling in his race set-up. However, after seeing his championship lead reduced to just 13 points in India last weekend, the Italian was keen to display a show of strength against title pretender Jorge Martin.
The Spaniard, who was quickest in the morning’s FP1 session, was ran his rival close with a 1m 43.843secs lap to go fourth, ahead of Marco Bezzecchi and Fabio di Giannantonio on their respective lone VR46 and Gresini Ducati machines this weekend.
Johann Zarco and Maverick Vinales booked their places into Saturday’s Q2 session with the seventh and eighth best laps, while Pol Espargaro will make his first direct appearance into the pole-deciding session after going ninth best on the GasGas Tech3. Together with Jack Miller snatching tenth spot, three.
|2023 Japanese MotoGP | Twin Ring Motegi, Japan | Practice Results | Round 14 of 20|
|1||Brad Binder||🇿🇦||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM RC16||1m 43.489|
|2||Pecco Bagnaia||🇮🇹||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati GP23||1m 43.518|
|3||Aleix Espargaro||🇪🇦||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia RS-GP||1m 43.784|
|4||Jorge Martin||🇪🇦||Prima Pramac Racing||Ducati GP23||1m 43.843|
|5||Marco Bezzecchi||🇮🇹||Mooney VR46 Racing||Ducati GP22||1m 43.945|
|6||Fabio di Giannantonio||🇮🇹||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati GP22||1m 43.947|
|7||Johann Zarco||🇨🇵||Prima Pramac Racing||Ducati GP23||1m 44.062|
|8||Maverick Vinales||🇪🇦||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia RS-GP||1m 44.117|
|9||Pol Espargaro||🇪🇦||GasGas Factory Racing Tech3||KTM RC16||1m 44.219|
|10||Jack Miller||🇦🇺||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM RC16||1m 44.261|
|11||Miguel Oliveira||🇵🇹||CryptoData RNF Racing||Aprilia RS-GP||1m 44.317|
|12||Joan Mir||🇪🇦||Repsol Honda Team||Honda RC213V||1m 44.428|
|13||Fabio Quartararo||🇨🇵||Monster Energy Yamaha||Yamaha M1||1m 44.520|
|14||Marc Marquez||🇪🇦||Repsol Honda Team||Honda RC213V||1m 44.574|
|15||Franco Morbidelli||🇮🇹||Monster Energy Yamaha||Yamaha M1||1m 44.657|
|16||Cal Crutchlow||🇬🇧||YAMALUBE RS4GP||Yamaha M1||1m 44.709|
|17||Raul Fernandez||🇪🇦||CryptoData RNF Racing||Aprilia RS-GP||1m 44.811|
|18||Takaaki Nakagami||🇯🇵||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda RC213V||1m 44.928|
|19||Augusto Fernandez||🇪🇦||GasGas Factory Racing Tech3||KTM RC16||1m 45.231|
|20||Michele Pirro||🇮🇹||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati GP23||1m 45.866|
|21||Alex Rins||🇪🇦||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda RC213V||1m 47.236|